NFL Week 7 Predictions: Peyton Manning and the TD Record

If you’ve been following along on Twitter this week, you probably know I’ve had a major PC problem. I had some files backed up, but fortunately I was able to back everything up yesterday. So I haven’t lost any of the data I spend much of my time working on as a career and hobby. I’ll have a better PC this week, but for now I’m going to be brief on this week’s preview.

The Passing TD Record

Week 7 has a real solid schedule, but obviously the highlight game is SNF: 49ers at Broncos. Out of the 64 AFC-NFC matchups this year, this is one of the most likely to be a rematch in February. These teams have been among the best the past few years and this should be a competitive one, prime-time blowouts be damned.

There’s also some major NFL history at stake with Peyton Manning needing three touchdown passes to surpass Brett Favre (508).

Why is it major? There aren’t many more satisfying plays for a quarterback than to throw a touchdown pass. Throw a bunch of them and you’re going to have plenty of highlights and wins.

It’s also a record that rarely changes in NFL history. Here’s a chronology of the TD pass record since the start of the modern era in the NFL (1950):

  • 1950 (start of season) – Sammy Baugh, the first quarterback to ever throw 100 TDs, had 168 (retired with 187)
  • 12/10/1961 – Bobby Layne tied Baugh with his 187th TD pass
  • 9/23/1962 – Layne set record with 188th TD pass (finished with 196)
  • 12/1/1963 – Y.A. Tittle (we have to exclude his 1948-49 AAFC stats) tied Layne with his 196th TD pass and surpassed him with his 197th (finished with 212)
  • 9/18/1966 – Johnny Unitas tied and surpassed Tittle with four touchdowns against the Vikings (finished with 290)
  • 12/20/1975 – Fran Tarkenton tied and surpassed Unitas with two touchdowns against the Bills (finished with 342)
  • 11/20/1995 – Dan Marino tied Tarkenton at 242.
  • 11/26/1995 – Marino surpassed Tarkenton with four touchdowns against the Colts (finished with 420)
  • 9/23/2007 – Brett Favre tied Marino at 420.
  • 9/30/2007 – Favre surpassed Marino with two touchdowns against the Vikings (finished with 508)

Manning will be only the 8th quarterback in the post-WWII era to hold the record. With his finish to be determined, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck may be the only active players with a realistic shot to catch Manning some day.

Updating a table (click to enlarge) I first compiled months ago, here’s a look at the most TD passes in NFL history based on minimum distance (yards gained):


The table is easy to read and only includes regular-season touchdown passes. Peyton has thrown 111 touchdowns that gained at least 30 yards, the most of any quarterback ever.

If Manning’s next TD pass is at least 34 yards, he’ll break seven ties in the 2-34 range. He has a good shot to retire with his name in first on 1-40 yards. He also needs one 70+ TD pass to break that tie with Favre, but those are very rare.

Manning has 24 games with Denver with 3+ TD passes, so I think he’ll get it over with on Sunday night.

Final prediction: 49ers 20, Broncos 27

NFL Week 7 Predictions

Of course I had the Patriots on TNF, but that was much closer than expected.

Winners in bold:

  • Panthers at Packers
  • Falcons at Ravens
  • Vikings at Bills
  • Browns at Jaguars
  • Bengals at Colts
  • Dolphins at Bears
  • Saints at Lions
  • Titans at Redskins
  • Seahawks at Rams
  • Chiefs at Chargers
  • Giants at Cowboys
  • Cardinals at Raiders
  • 49ers at Broncos
  • Texans at Steelers

Road teams ruled last week, but I like many of the home teams this week (but not the homers that come with them).

Season Results

  • Week 1: 8-8
  • Week 2: 9-7
  • Week 3: 11-5
  • Week 4: 8-5
  • Week 5: 11-4
  • Week 6: 9-5-1
  • Total: 56-34-1

NFL Week 5 Predictions and the Touchdown Pass Record

Short on ranting this week with some Saturday research to do, but let’s quickly look at the passing touchdown record. It seems to be the one in most jeopardy from the potential season-long juggernaut in Denver. Of course it would be Peyton Manning reclaiming the record from Tom Brady (50), which he would have already had if the Colts did not pull him after one series in Week 17 2004.

To earn a touchdown pass, you must have possession of the ball. So I took the drive stats for Manning ’04 (and four games into 2013) and Brady ’07 to see how many drives each had and how many they sat out. Kneel down drives are excluded from all stats.

(QB1 = Manning or Brady)


The numbers are eerily similar with Brady throwing one more touchdown on one more drive. Manning did sit out twice (16) as many drives as Brady (8) that season. It’s still very early, but he’s actually had 11 drives per game this year, which could give him a better shot at record volume. The 2007 Patriots were more efficient at scoring than the 2004 Colts, though you can see the Colts had more missed field goals and Manning’s skill players fumbled five times compared to none for Brady, who had 12 total turnovers (Manning with 11). The 2013 Broncos are scoring TDs at a better rate than the record-setting 2007 Patriots, but again, it is still very early.

The 2013 Broncos have already punted 7 times (BAL) and 5 times (Giants) in games, which did not happen to the 2004 Colts until they had 6 punts against the Ravens in Game 14. So it hasn’t been all perfect in Denver, though if Manning continues to get closer to 11 possessions per game, then you can see the potential this offense has. The best defense against Denver has often been itself. Cut down on some of the mistakes and some records will likely fall this season.

2013 NFL Week 5 Predictions

The Thursday streak continues at 5-0 with my pick of Cleveland. This week’s schedule looks very enticing.

Winners in bold:

  • Lions at Packers
  • Eagles at Giants
  • Chiefs at Titans
  • Ravens at Dolphins
  • Saints at Bears
  • Jaguars at Rams
  • Seahawks at Colts
  • Patriots at Bengals
  • Panthers at Cardinals
  • Broncos at Cowboys
  • Texans at 49ers
  • Chargers at Raiders
  • Jets at Falcons

Season results:

  • Week 1: 11-5
  • Week 2: 12-4
  • Week 3: 8-8
  • Week 4: 9-6
  • Season: 40-23